Today I am a ball of emotions.
I had nightmares again and was JOLTED awake after watching one of my kids get hurt by someone in that dream. One if my worst reoccurring dreams.
I rose out of bed to discover I had full body pain and a ringing headache. It was time to get my kids up and ready, to make breakfast and plan for the day. And I just didn't want to do anything.
After everything was taken care of, I decided to take care of myself. In ways I always resisted before.
My in laws took my boys for a little bit and I took a nap. When I woke, I got breakfast and coffee. I took my vitamins. I did some breathing exercises and spoke to myself.
I let myself know it is ok to take a ME day.
No day is a ME day as a stay at home mother of 3, with a husband working in a different part of the state for weeks and mostly just sitting in two small bedrooms each day for entertainment.
Today is a mental health + me day because I am going to talk to myself all day.
I realize some of you might laugh because you are a stay at home mom and talk to yourself all day. Ain't that special right?
For years I talked to myself, through the lens of someone with deep anxiety and depression. And it sounded something like this:
"Don't take another 2 hours to wash the bathroom up when you know it can take 30 minutes."
"Gosh, these kids never listen to me no matter what I ask for or say."
"Again you didn't do your hair. What's it going to take to brush it?"
"The Jean's dont fit again. Might as well wear sweats. Not like I ever go anywhere."
"Stop spending or even looking at money. There is so little of it, you cannot afford to be in charge of it. You don't even work."
"You don't even work. Anything you would do would just pay a daycare and then you will have no time with your kids plus no money. You can't even earn past minimum wage. You have no resume."
"You have no resume. What happened to your dreams? You did nothing."
"You do nothing. Motherhood is not even difficult. It's just a job with no lunch break. Other women do it so well."
"You are not like other women. You have no idea how to be a woman or a wife. Idk why he picked you. You can barely care for yourself."
"I don't want to take care of myself. Not today. Not tomorrow either."
"I just want to be in bed."
"I hate everything."
---------- Ladies. This is not self talk. --------------
This is self sabotage. And I cry as I write this because it needs to come out. I need to tell myself all day today that I am not unworthy.
That I am worthy of love.
That I need to love myself so much. Make up for years of not loving me every time I had a conversation with myself.
Today I am doing things for my blog, as I do every day to be committed. But I am intuitively doing what makes me feel good.
I am also putting together the ways I can use my blog and talents to bring what I want into existence.
I have never done this before.
Take the wheel and say, "Do what makes you happy. Fuel your joy."
I am working on ways to build a new life.
To finally get an apartment or place of our own as a little family of 5 instead of living out of a bedroom, which we cannot even afford right now.
I am rewriting my pain and trauma from the past but also my recent struggles in marriage and parenthood. In entrepreneurship.
I have been learning something so fundamental to this healing and growth.
To stop talking down on myself and treating my intuition like it is an addiction.
I just realized this morning during breakfast with myself that I always treated myself like an addict when I wanted something.
This stems from being raised by mentally ill parents with addictions. It's all I ever saw or knew. Combine that with my needs never being met, my emotions being dismissed and a verbal diagnosis from my parents to me that I was just the worst kid ever.
The worst teen ever.
The worst thing in their lives.
I internalize my own needs as dangerous and destructive because of that good ole "dog and bell" concept you may have been taught in basic psychology.
Jean wants. Jean is bad.
Jean does without. Drought is safe.
I have been in poverty all my life.
I have also had a burning passion for creating and organizing socially impacting projects and movements. I have radical, creative energy inside of me that zings around like a bright orb wanting to release its magic.
And my self doubt used duct tape to patch all the attempts that light made to get out.
Because of abuse and the aftermath of trauma.
I want things because I am human. We all want things.
But my desire to have a home and a healthy family with my husband + kids goes roots deep.
After 28 years of not knowing how to deal with my trauma, year 29 my intuition says "rebuild."
So I am.
I am now following my intuition while I talk myself through it. This sounds like:
"You are so creative. Look what magic you make and how much it is appreciated by others?!"
"You know how to create magic! You always have. Look how beautiful you write and design when you let yourself flow."
"Wanting to be loved by others or enjoying the appreciation others have for you does not make you selfish or conceited. Wanting people to like you to people please v.s. enjoying people liking you for YOU are SO DIFFERENT."
"YOU CAN HAVE ALL THE THINGS YOU WANT."
"USE YOUR CREATIVE ENERGY TO GET WHAT YOU WANT."
"Live like you can get that new life NOW."
I am talking to myself every hour. All day long today. Because I need me. I need to build trust in myself and know my intuition + emotions are the priority. They are a skill and a gift to be able to access.
Listening to your intuition if it says something that you are unsure of or new to does not mean you are self sabotaging your life.
Listening when your intuition says "buy that coffee" and your logic tells you "yeah girl, we totally can" means your body and mind are in sync and you are choosing to do a logical thing out of self love.
I struggled so long with the idea that our logic is the opposite of intuition, because society programs us that way.
Women are told they are too emotional and too needy, that they indulge too much.
We are taught this through abuse as well.
So I am refusing it.
Instead I have asked myself, "What can I do today to fulfill my future needs NOW?"
So I googled. "Housewarming registry."
I am making a registry of all the things I need for the apartment or house we rent for our little family.
I am also compiling a list of my abilities in design and writing, editing, and organizing that people may need from me.
I am going to be offering different skills of mine and in exchange, friends can donate to my blog or choose an item off my registry.
But that is for another day.
Right now I am asking myself, "What do I want my life to be like --- look like ---- smell like?"
"What locations would bring me joy? My family joy?"
"When I walk into my dream place, what do I see?"
----> growing up, I moved many times and never felt at home anywhere. I felt really unsafe living with my mother because of the abuse and what I had to witness.
So all I could come up with is "safe".
I want to live in a safe home.
"Dig harder. Dig deeper. You are safe now. What do you want to make you feel happy?"
And so I sit.
I am building this registry today.
I am sipping a hot beverage.
I am counting my blessings out loud as I listen to a meditation music playlist.
I am calming myself from the inside out.
And I am speaking out foreign words of love and devotion to me.
"I am so worthy of happiness."
"I am so loved by me."
"I deserve joy and excitement."
"My creativity is going to break the cycle."
"My ideas bring healing and comfort to my life."
"My intuition and logic can bring me joy."
"I can trust in myself when my choices are aligned with healthy decisions."
"Being happy IS the goal, not the side effect."
♡ J.S. Jaded Savior
You can help support us by contributing to the registry <3 or donating to the blog.
I have a confession.
I HATE the word queen.
I have never had a good relationship with my parents.
My mother was hardly ever sober and she was my residential parent after the divorce.
Sometimes, between blackouts and rage, would come out a fragile voice and tenderness that scared me more than the anger I knew her for.
When someone is constantly abusive, tenderness or kindness feels wrong. Unnatural.
She would call me Queen. And talk about how how I was her Queen.
And I grew up hating it. That fake kindness that would come out to play. It almost felt supernatural when that persona met with me.
And that word, it felt foreign.
What did it even mean to her?
Surely there was not a "human" part of her soul hiding beneath the illness, the anger, the alcohol.....
I grew up around girls who had moms that were their best friends.
Mine tried attacking me while drunk on the regular. Mine did not talk to me about life or boys or behaviors or habits. Mine did not warn me about the bad people.
People like her.
Unstable. But calculated.
She was not abusive or bullying towards me out of lack of willpower.
She knew what she was causing, she would see it in my eyes and my body language.
She would gas light and manipulate.
Guilt me. Gift me things I didn't want or need, that she charged and we could not afford. Then lay all the stress and problems on me.
Many episodes of alcohol and anger went forgotten because she maintained a buzz constantly and then would get so drunk I saw a void in her eyes.
This was my home life for years. 16.
Until I became pregnant with my h.s. bf and she kicked me out. Threw me out with nothing. And then changed the locks.
The only texts and calls I got thereafter have been incoherent or angry or illegible.
I'll never forget when she texted me 5 years later telling me she had a baby cradle and baby items in my bedroom. My childhood bedroom that she was still "cleaning" every season and keeping as is for me to return home.
With "baby queen".
The child she told me to abort.
The pregnancy she shamed me and abandoned me with, not minding that a family member on my birth fathers side had to take me in.
I never did return.
Or so I told myself.
For 12 years I disassociated with a memory that I unblocked this summer.
After I began my healing journey in May of this year, I began to practice shadow work and sit with myself to unlock deep seeded issues that were giving me nightmares.
Every dream was the same.
I was an adult, with my daughter being a toddler again, and I was TRAPPED in my childhood bedroom. Trying to figure out how to escape and get my baby girl who she had locked somewhere else in the house.
Nightmares of my mother trying to kill me slowly with torture and mental games.
Nightmares of trying to run and getting out the front door with such elation, only to turn back GREEN faced realizing my toddler was still prisoner inside and I could no longer see a front door.
So I dove into my memories right on my couch. And I journeyed through memories, going back to after the birth of my daughter.
I then remembered a day I went to visit with the baby. And ended up being coehersed into sleeping over with my month old child.
I remembered drunk fist fighting at 1 am.
I remembered bugs in my bed and dust on the furniture.
I remembered breastfeeding my newborn and crying on the floor. Sleeping with her in my arms on hard wood.
I remembered calling my aunt [who'd taken me in] the next day to come get me.
I remembered stealing my social security card and other documents from her bedroom closet in secret while my aunt distracted her in the living room.
These were vital documents so I could as a minor apply for financial aid, a bank account, school, medical insurance, and have proper I.D. for my new life without parents. And I achieved it.
I blocked out that memory of sleeping over, of my child crying hard when she held her, of the sleepless night when I heard China breaking and cursing until after 3am.
But the worst pain was the mistake I had made right before leaving those doors for good.
I had left baby clothing behind that had spit up on it.
8 months later my mother had that clothing in a bag and photographs of it sprawled out in my room along with other baby things I'd never seen before.
I had brought her and my birth father, who'd abandoned me at 15 to drugs, to court. At 17 years old with a 9 month old baby, I testified against all 3 guardians: my mother, her husband, and my father.
And though Ieft with freedom legally from them all, I had a heavy heart. No abuse charges were founded. No proof on my end was substantial enough to hold the case.
On their end my mother presented photographs of my room all clean and a full fridge of food [which was never the case], baby items in various places of the room and fresh laundry folded.
The pictures were dated and used as valid evidence to prove they supplied a loving, safe home that I was welcome back to with my child any time I wanted.
I declined and thankfully, lawfully was not able to be forced.
THIS IS NOT THE CASE IN EVERY STATE.
I realized I had blocked those memories because of how painful and shameful it was to have my own parent put me in such a bad position, this time affecting my own child.
And i rejected the memory of putting my own baby in danger because I was so upset about it.
Our brains are that powerful. We can rewrite, rewire or erase memories all together just to protect ourselves.
Until we unlock the memories and suddenly connections are made.
And Pandora's box is unleashed.
I remembered that my boyfriend during college called me his Queen during a vulnerable moment he had, promising to propose and get an apartment with me. Something I had wanted to have because we were dating for years and I had a child already + a future to plan out.
One that would not wait for him.
So he pulled out what cards he could to keep me.
For another year and a half I believe I stayed, until he left me finally via text announcing his affair with someone else.
I realized that QUEEN again meant prisoner.
It did not mean royal or special or strong.
And it was bestowed upon me by a person close to me who had no intention of keeping me.
Instead, I was cut loose and ghosted thereafter.
4 years just gone.
We are not supposed to view experiences as wasted or unwanted.
We learn best through struggles and overcoming challenges.
Overcoming abuse is not a life obstacle.
It is a deterrent from living life.
It is a prison cell.
A nightmare in which you feel trapped over and over again.
Even long after you are safe.
Starting Jaded Savior blog taught me so much about myself.
My spiritual healing journey has taught me, through light and shadow work, that my duality of good and bad qualities come from abuse.
That I am inauthentic.
Or rather, void of identity and self esteem.
How could this have happened?
When women call eachother queen on the internet, it is the absolute best compliment.
It is a symbol of sisterhood and support.
When I am called queen, I shrivel.
It does not empower me.
But that trigger comes from abusers programming me to lose my identity.
To create one for me.
As it turns out, I have not known myself.
The traits I thought were me were symptoms of anxiety and depression.
The good news is, I AM NOT MY ANXIETY OR DEPRESSION.
I AM NOT TRAUMA.
I am also not lost or lacking of identity.
Beneath the layers of experiences is who I AM TO BECOME.
I once was a JADED SAVIOR.
Someone chronically wanting to save everybody but myself.
It wasn't until I left abuse through awareness and action that I was able to become something new.
Not a Queen.
Not a Savior of the Narcissists and Sociopaths.
A path forger.
A dark sorter.
A light bringer.
J.S. Jaded Savior
art by lindsayrappgallery.com
Some days I look in the mirror and as soon as I am about to say:
"I am a good person with a good heart"
, my mind imposter swoops in and says things like:
"No you're not. You manipulate. You pretend to be happy. You pretend to be good. You are the problem."
Growing up and living with my mother after the divorce, I was told almost daily how bad I was.
I "deserved" and I "earned" whatever I got.
I got sent to my room or punished for anything.
One time I could not find a dog spoon so I was grounded for 3 months to my room. Right before summer break. I watched everyone else run around outside on the block playing. I was 11. And my mother hid the spoon.
Growing up with a narcissist who had mental health issues and addictions made me think I was crazy for "imagining" abuse.
It took me years after moving out to justify it.
I remember as an adult with 2 kids, having her text me after years acting "calm and normal". She spelled correctly and she was asking me coherent questions like an old "friend" catching up. She even sent a picture to me of "us" from her "wallet" which was an awkward AF pic of me all skinny and pale, with the worst expression on my face.
The face of an abused kid. A broken kid.
And I remembered there how she would manipulate, taunt, and shove her fingers into my wounds.
She would yell to get me crying and then tell me all I do is cry. That babies cry.
I now know at 29 that, yes, it was abuse. Yes, she was and IS an addict. Actively still.
She was and IS mentally ill without medication or intervention.
She was and IS not in my life for those reasons.
I made it my boundary this past May to block her out of my life for good. 12 years post moving out. Which I still phrase it as such even though I was thrown out and she changed the locks within that week. I was 16 and pregnant. And "ruining her life".
It was ALWAYS my fault.
Projection. Gas lighting. Manipulation. Black outs. The rollercoaster of being in a relationship that is volatile and unstable for anyone, but especially a child.
I have had to reparent myself and educate my inner child as well as the adult I now am.
The adult body I feel trapped in when I stare into the mirror.
I cannot believe I am a good person.
Not because i think i am actually a liar.
But because her voice became louder than my own.
Her voice was built on irrationality, addictions, unhealthy expectations, violated boundaries, and chemical altering of each mood she slid smoothly into like a greased up mouse.
I have to teach myself the difference.
I do have rational thoughts.
I am powerful AF.
I have survived by making phone calls, doing research, making plans, executing them, creating solutions from nothing.
I have always grown on my own account. In my own way.
Every hardship ever has been tackled.
I have a strong spirit and I KNOW IT.
So did she.
I have realized over the years that I am hard to contain.
I have BIG ENERGY.
I love to play big when not held back.
But I've let abusive people sneak in and hold me back. "Because they needed me."
And every need, whether fulfilled or not, was ridiculed.
But that was all I knew about "love".
How to please and be hurt in return.
Now I have tools to accompany my strength.
And metaphorical scissors.
I am now a woman unbound.
No more being held back.
And self doubt also holds me back.
Irrational fears bind me from being more.
I will no longer entertain the notion that I am not good.
My truths are being told because so many of you have a voice inside telling you the bullshit that keeps you bound up by trauma.
Cut it loose now.
It is time.
Because now you have the ability to know better.
J.S. Jaded Savior
#christmas #joy #purpose #rockbottom #depression #trauma #stars
Last New Years + Christmas was the absolute worst. My husband and I both felt so burnt out by life. We both said in unison "this does not feel like Christmas" and did not have a good holiday week at all.
We had just completely lost so much we had built during the 4 years of working together and were home for a few weeks scrambling before Xmas to get our kids a few things. We had no income that month coming in. We were super tight food shopping and in debt from our business. We had nothing to do but sit in our two tiny, side by side bedrooms we live in with our kids and DWELL on all we felt we had "fucked up".
Throughout our entire relationship, from the first few months until then, we had spent working together long hours in his family-owned business. He had chosen a partner with a child so we felt like a family instantly and then doubled in size by our first holiday. I was pregnant 4 months into dating him and gave birth just 2 weeks before Christmas in 2015.
The next two years after that we spent working constantly, as a family of 4 and then 5 when our second son joined the gang.
We got married quickly while pregnant with the second (while feeling in love but very overwhelmed by the lackluster celebration and fast milestones). Everything with us, though we wanted a family and to settle down so badly, felt rushed.
But we made everything work. Year after year we made big plans and did whatever we could to work them out. Both pregnancies, I went to work full time until I was due and then returned with an infant two or three weeks tops back to our office and factory.
By the end of year four, it felt like the roller coaster had finally made its' last, tallest DROP which drove us straight into the tracks.
Last New Years Eve I made a wish.
I wished, through tear-soaked eyes, to never have another holiday feeling the way I did.
I felt so broken and weak. So tired.
I felt like a failure.
6 years I had gone to college and then my plans did not pan out. 4 years I spent with a man I loved dearly, the only person to ever make me feel safe and loved ---> only to feel like I failed him and our vision of happiness.
I had pictured getting married and having babies to be these amazingly planned out events in my life. Void of parents to plan, support, or be there in love through those milestones ---> I OBSESSED over being able to do things "the right way" in order to have SOME control in my life.
In order to not feel like I am just meant for TRAUMA.
One year ago, I felt like such an utter disappointment.
Even though I had 3 healthy and beautiful children to be thankful for ---
Even though I had a loving and supportive husband by my side ---
Even though we had a roof over our heads thanks to his family---
I felt like nothing was enough or the way I had planned it.
The business was supposed to BOOM. We were supposed to BUILD a life. GET an apartment. or rent a HOUSE.
We were supposed to get a dog before babies. I was supposed to make a CAREER happen before multiplying my definition of MOTHERHOOD.
I never held out on the idea of a MAN swooping in to provide all. My girl had been raised to be happy in a one-parent home. To be happy and whole regardless of the size of our family.
But I did end up meeting a man while I was an independent and hard-working College Student.
So when I left school as my term was up, I did not FEEL like I was saved by a KNIGHT.
I actually carried around GUILT and SHAME for hanging up my single mom cape.
For getting pregnant fast. Even falling in love after previous people had just disappointed me.
Last year I cried because I had held onto years of guilt, shame, frustration, fears, and sadness.
I felt like I had let myself down.
But I was wrong.
All I was doing was releasing year's worth of Trauma, disassociation, and anxiety. Because sitting home with my husband last Christmas, though we had just lost everything, it was the calmest my life had ever been.
We had nowhere to "be"' anymore.
We had no clients to meet, no store to open, no people to call.
We had no appointments to drag our babies along to. No networking or events.
We could sleep in if we wanted to.
We could just relax if we wanted to. Not forever. But just for the holidays, before regrouping and figuring out our game plan for the New Year.
We could have used Christmas to just stay silently in the void, the quiet of snowfall and holiday vacation ---when the streets were deserted and the emails were scarce.
Instead, we cursed the days.
We said "I hate everything."
We said "This is the worst thing ever."
And so when the New Year came, I felt like I had to do something to FEEL relevant.
I started a mom blog to write about my experience as a stay at home mom.
Recipes. Toy recommendations. Cleaning without toxins.
And I EFFEN HATED IT.
That was the actual lowest point in our relationship, my parenting journey, and my time as a stay at home 28-year-old --- hiding away in our tiny little bedroom not even wanting to see the family we stay with.
I felt so worthless.
I could barely get myself to write content, and just obsessed with the graphic design + theme of my self hosted website for 4 months.
Self-loathing was gold and monochrome, with brush script font.
Because it was popular.
Because "likes" and "SEO". Because Aesthetic.
I can laugh now, but back then my days of designing were a sign.
I was spiraling.
As a child, I had used art + design for coping when my mom was super drunk and abusive. I hid in my room to draw and escape from the screaming + fighting that took place nightly in my home.
When I dove into art, it was a distraction from pain.
I wish now I had the power to visit my past selves, like the ghost of Christmas past.
To see the old me's and tell them the ways to get off their knees and wipe their tears.
I wish I could trauma train myself as a child to KNOW exactly why I did the things that I did. And rescue myself from all the pain.
It was not until I hit true Rock Bottom that I was able to SEE what I was doing.
What I was really feeling.
I hit a deep depression in May that made getting out of bed difficult. I was crying daily in the bathroom and my kids making any noise went through my head and right down my spine.
I finally decided to talk to my husband and explode all my thoughts + emotions.
All the pent up worries and pain.
My feelings of defeat and my struggle to feel OKAY each day.
I told him I felt guilty about having my blog because it was not what I really wanted.
I did not cook very well, I had no wisdom to impart on my readers about parenthood when my own kids made me cry, and I felt like a horrible wife.
I was having nightmares and insomnia back and forth which caused me to struggle during the day between exhaustion and body aches.
Christmas had sucked but my wish not coming true broke my heart.
I was getting worse, not better.
That month felt really hard. But being honest with him relieved me.
After releasing those emotions, 2 more events happened back to back that I was not prepared for. I cut out my birth parents from any form of contact after being randomly approached by each sending messages. And then a long-time friend did something that made me decide to cut off contact. I realized my boundaries with both situations and I HONORED THEM.
I sat with my feelings and realized that the release was exactly what I needed.
Release of expectations and guilt.
Release of shame and depreciation for the way my life went.
I also decided to stop viewing my struggles as an anchor that was sinking me.
I had the ability to be home with my kids for the first time ever. A supportive husband who was working on something new to help us get back up on our feet.
I was already blogging and had gained so many skills. I had already taken courses and learned how to build websites from our business plus had already invested in a site.
I made a conscious and split-second decision to get up off my @SS and change my life.
It took 2 days after that to build the entire site and write my first few published posts. I released something NEW on my social media feed. Jaded Savior <3
And it was all purple. All me. All "purposeful". Yet...
Unplanned. Unstrategized. Unexpectedly.
My life changed.
Within one month, I had visions of writing a book.
within 3 months I was planning a Podcast.
At the end of 6 months, I planned out a subscription plan for my site.
Just days away, Christmas 2019 is going to be a holiday for the books.
We did not know what the year would bring and were so focused on all that we lost ---- I am most excited to celebrate what we have now gained.
We have each found a career path that we really enjoy and are now following it -- all in.
Though we have to work apart, the distance is allowing us to each work on ourselves and our own health.
I am getting a grip on my mental health and showing gratitude for the amazing opportunities I have had in the last few months.
I would have never had them if I did not take a chance on myself.
It was not until I hit rock bottom that I had the opportunity to Rise.
My wish is different this year.
I now wish to keep focused on my personal growth.
I plan on taking on 365 days of sharing truths + tackling my healing by diving deep into who I am and what I am about.
I no longer want to feel paralyzed and heavy by what I have lost.
This year will be all about dropping the need to play connect the dots.
Having Trauma feels a lot like being in bed with chickenpox.
You FEEL IT all over (I mean everywhere) and you have this urge to take a sharpie and connect the dots.
You draw a line from one dot to another, to another...and soon your body looks like a sky of constellations, lighting up all the pain spots.
I am done with marking myself and feeling nothing but disappointment instead of being in awe of the art.
Of the number of times I have survived and then turned something ugly into something worth looking at.
Not just looking at ---> being absolutely crazy about.
That is how I feel now.
12 months later and I have found my "thing".
I also filled a jar this entire year with little notes marking the highlights that happened. <3 And the moments I felt grateful for.
I cannot wait to sit with my kids and husband in front of our tree on Christmas Day and read the notes out loud.
I am reclaiming my emotions and feelings about myself. "I love everything". I love the abundance that is coming into my life.
The amount of love and support I have now that I exist in my truths and my struggles.
The amount of help I am getting now that I have revealed my needs.
I did not realize this "too late" but right when I needed to.
But I want that to be different for you.
I hope you will hear this sooner, from me.
That you need to sit with yourself --- here in your rock bottom.
And you need to PAUSE to stop your doubts and guilt. I want you to listen not to your head or your emotions, but your heart.
Where does your heart gravitate towards?
What is that THING you do want in your life? That passion or idea that you can faintly hear beneath the cluster of F*cks you feel life has tossed on top of you.
Make today that "pick yourself up and try again" day but this time with something you find yourself in awe of.
Like a constellation of magic and light that calls on us to be MORE.
<3 J.S. Jaded Savior
#selfproclamations #abuse #trauma #healing #childabuse #attack #PTSD
Curled up on the couch, a soft fur blanket drapped around my body, fingers laced with my husbands' --- feels like home.
We are watching a Netflix original, trying to keep our eyes open past 1am to enjoy our greatest version of a date. Alone time after the three kids go to sleep.
Hearts calm and bodies relaxed, enjoying the lack of awareness of day or time. It is winter and no responsibilities are calling our names here in the night.
He kisses my cheek and I smile, feeling warm and content as he admires the outline of my silhouette and runs his finger down my nose.
There is an intimacy between us that can forever be unmatched. A safety in his touch and the presence of the space he takes up next to me, legs intertwined and feet touching.
A feeling builds up in my chest, a quick pick up of breathing and lack of exhales causing me to raise my left hand to my chest, bare beneath the neckline of my shirt collar.
My ears are picking up something from the depth beyond the shut wooden door that keeps us time blocked in date night.
A thump. A creek.
And a sudden shriek of the door POPPING loose and dragging open in the dark.
Just as my body sensed its movement, my nerves LEAP with intensified fear.
Neck whipping, I turn to my husband and ask him to check if a child is out of bed or if something pushed the latch open.
It is silly, but I am frightened.
He gets up in serious fashion to explore what is most likely a toddler awaiting retrieval from the baby gated bedroom across from ours.
Instead, he meets gaze with a dark, empty hall and turns to me to smile gently for reassurance that everything is ok.
I am up behind him already. He shuts the door and tells me that it was nothing.
As his body passed mine to return to the couch, I turn back away from the door and it POPS open again.
This time, my shaking hand meeting the backside and shoving it shut. I am pale and I can feel the goosebumps rising over my back underneath my silky top.
Heart pounding and tears welling up along with the thump, thump, pause.
Thump, THUMP, PAUSE ---
I am met, chest to chest wit an understanding hug as he holds me. As he repeats,
"YOU'RE OK. YOU'RE OK."
Hand caressing my back.
--- Unmatched intimacy.
PTSD sometimes looks like knowing 5 seconds before it happens.
It's feeling the air change. Or an expression alter.
It's seeing something there that no one else sees because it happened, just a long time ago.
For me, PTSD looks like petite hands pressing a wooden door shut at 2am and making bruises on a strong, thin calf of someone prying the door open in order to reach me.
2am, hair grasped in fist and screams, inaudible, felt in vibrations down my spine. Goosebumps and chills.
Fear she will get in.
Fear of what happens if I am not strong enough to shut the door.
A final slam and standing fast on feet to hold the door shut from inside. Desperately looking around for something to hold it shut, absent of a lock on the cheap brass handle of the eggshell white portal I desperately beg to cease moving.
So I tug heavily at the vintage dresser and get the corner to pass the door. I keep pushing and manage to shove a heavy, 9 drawer natural wood IKEA vanity across the right corner of the room.
I melt down in front of it and press my body to the drawers. Knobs resting my head and spine between them.
PTSD is not remembering how many hours i slept on that hardwood floor that night or what got me into school the next morning.
Just knowing I reached an adult I trusted instead of taking my midterm, to shakily pass words I had been waiting to utter for years.
My PTSD shows up during normal hours.
It does not pencil in meetings with me or request a call.
It just comes, unannounced. Like a walk-in for an important meeting.
A meeting of timelines. A recollection of truths.
As I grow older, gaining understanding of what is happening and learning how to say PTSD in line with my name... I realize the foreign sound of this term only means I have not presently associated with my past.
February 2019 was my first real diagnosis with this term.
It was not until summer that the pronunciation felt right.
Past reminders in current situations.
Pre processing of past events.
So what does healing look like for someone with PTSD?
For me, it is the meeting between past and present in order to map out a healthy future.
It means using my senses and my present awareness to assist in honoring boundaries to make the flashes subside and the title "healing" feel attainable.
It means I will have the whole body experience of hitting "play" on my life.
J.S. Jaded Savior ♡
An excerpt from "STUCK ON PAUSE", an autobiography about living with PTSD, depression, anxiety, trauma, abuse etc. Coming in 2020 ☆
2012 wore a face like hell.
A face of a girl whose boyfriend had secret texts from his exs.
A face of a girl who cried between classes, alone in a cafeteria in college.
A face of a girl who mourned a loss she could not tell anyone about that ached her heart and soul.
A face of a girl who felt lost in her purpose + mission in life.
She was struck with depression often but did not know its name yet. So she just thought she had shitty outlooks on life.
This girl was riding on the aftermath of abuse and picking out people in her life that presented the treatment she had grown up with, but she called it all love.
She did not know what love actually looked like or sounded like.
Especially when all she heard constantly were the utterances from chronically negative people who thought future planning was pointless because the world was full of disappointments and did not provide joy without a cost.
A cost not worth paying.
This girl did not think her peaks of happiness and creativity were an answer to any questions she was begging between panic attacks as she planned her next schedule and semester.
She did not know creativity was worth something.
That people would pay in appreciation and validation, much less money to hear her thoughts.
She did not know that calling out an abuser or setting a boundary was a normal behavior.
Boundaries were just complaints told on deaf ears. And only b*tches complained.
I wish I could have met this girl in 2012.
I wish I could have told her that her spirit was actually empowerment and that her urge to read inspiring books would lead to a complete breakdown and reassessment of the things she had ever known.
That everything she knew was toxic and her intuitive urges to check those texts came from being around the wrong people, not being the wrong person.
I really want to tell her that she was worthy.
She was worthy of being someone's first choice.
She was worthy of that internship she self sabotaged.
She was worthy of the twirls and spins she did in dance class, wearing converse in a sea of heels because she could not afford dance shoes.
She was worthy of feeling like a good, no a great mom. Because at 21 she was holding keys to her own place and paying all her bills.
At 21, while peers complained about their moms calling too often and the toilet paper being crappy at their jobs, this girl was hustling to feed a toddler and taking public bus 6 times a day total to get the little one to and from daycare in between classes and work.
This girl had a home she attained on her own and a job she found on her first day of College.
This girl was ACTUALLY a go getter who just had anxiety and PTSD.
So the tears and overwhelm were totally acceptable.
The broken friendships and the takers who she surrounded herself with sometimes were ALSO products of abuse.
Because she attracted people who also dealt with hardships in life.
And that was not a burden AT ALL.
It was actually the start of her future career. An inkling that Social Work and Social Justice might actually be good fits.
Or at least her placement between healing and empowerment would be set, with the title "Jaded Savior" on the header of her future plans.
J.S. JADED SAVIOR
#christmas #joy #worthy #selfesteem #selflove #breakingbarriers
So this is what it feels like.
To pour into my own cup.
To slip on a silky dress that hugs my body and makes me feel held together like a warm hug.
This is what it feels like to wipe my face clean of the stress and the tears and the disappointments.
To paint on elegant eyes and vicious red lips.
To comb my hair out and feel my fingers through my scalp all the way out to the tips of my curls.
To look in the mirror and see a woman with star struck eyes and a million hopes stretched across a galaxy like bright burning motivation.
To feel a deep desire and passion for creation and new things.
To meet myself at my present day.
Its therapeutic to put on makeup.
To gaze into my own eyes and focus only on building lashes and shadows around the right angles.
I contour the parts out that I no longer feel anger towards but soft and gentle understanding.
And graze my hands across my skin as I exfoliate and lotion every inch.
I play music in the background of this tiny little closet spaced bathroom and I feel home here.
As I locked the door, I knew this was redemption time.
Time to reclaim the bathroom space.
Time to release tears of gratitude and appreciation for myself.
I usually hide here in these walls, caved around my sorrow as I hold myself through the aftermath of anxiety triggers.
The bathroom had become a place to get away from everyone and everything.
As a child, I had no where to really hide away. Every room had false windows that did not actually lead to help.
As an adult, when parenthood or work or just a bad day got to me, I ran refuge to the avocado green walls and purple shower curtain for some deep breathing.
Today I applied makeup and hair care and skincare as I told myself out loud "I deserve this."
And no, I did not earn it from a promotion or a contest or a very special gift bestowed by someone else.
I gave this time to myself.
And better yet, I did not time myself.
No clock or alarms. No places to be.
Just here to give myself love and joy.
And it feels DAMN good.
This year, Christmas has brought me the ability to see myself beyond my trauma.
To see a woman break free from a cage she kept herself in, as she was struggling too much with all the burdens of the past to see that the door had been wide open all along.
This year has been a year of great reflection and self awareness.
I have learned so much about my own identity and experiences through reliving them under my own control and methods.
By writing out my emotions and stories, I have taken the wheel back from a young girl who was too scared and too tired to let me live.
I now feel so ready to pour into myself.
To feed the woman I've grown up into.
Feed her heart.
Feed her spirit.
Feed her soul.
As I look up and around the walls that cage me, all turns monochromatic and cracks.
And I do not brace myself or hold my breathe as I hear the shatter.
It is the sound of a new beginning.
J.S. Jaded Savior
My truths look different than the truths other family members have in my family.
Everyone is affected differently by Trauma.
And not everyone in the family gets abused by the abuser.
In fact, it can be common for one person to be singled out while everyone else is unaware of it.
Narcissistic people often surround themselves by adoring fans in order to not raise suspicions and successfully gas light TF out of their victim.
I was in abusive, volatile situations my first 16 years of life.
It took me years after to ACTUALLY, cognitively, process what had happened.
To come to terms with definitions like addict, narcissist, schizophrenic etc. To gain validation from actual medical professionals once both parents of mine went into the hospital for near death experiences due to their addictions.
My father was found nearly dead from a heroin overdose. He was brought into the hospital and soon after admitted into a long term in-patient program.
My mother had seizures and passed out during Thanksgiving in front of her siblings and parents, having an ambulance take her out. She was admitted only a few days then sent home. Alcohol poisoning and problems with her body.
I had called the hospital when my mother went in. I let them know I was her only child and that she was an addict, so medications should be provided with caution.
They ignored it.
Both of my parents began drinking and doing drugs in their early teens.
I would figure out decades later that they both suffered from abuse since childhood and mental health issues, without any diagnosis or treatments until they began self medicating and got harmed by it.
Common for people struggling with mental health issues, such as bipolar and schizophrenia, each of them did not actually know what was wrong with themselves until they were very deep in dangerous symptoms of their conditions.
No one in my family ever talked to me about their conditions or their addictions.
In fact, my mother was often just eye rolled at when she peeled off the foil seal of a new bottle at a holiday dinner or even a get together.
"There goes Cathy, drinking again" was the closest I ever heard to anyone pointing out a bad behavior, though sharp tongued as to say it was as annoying and typical as nail biting. And soon after, discarded as a lost cause.
I remember how much anxiety I felt whenever my mother, who had residential custody of me, took me to family events.
My father on the other hand did not want to see his family as the years went on. He cut them all off. He even cut off his childhood best friend. His girlfriends. And then finally me.
I remember wishing other people could see what I saw.
I wanted someone to say something to both of them. To call them out on their problems. But when it did not happen, I felt crazy.
Had I imagined everything to be worse than it was?
After all, both of my parents were adults and bought their substances with their own money. They both held jobs. They both had relationships. And relatives who still wanted to invite them to things.
I often thought I earned it. That I must have been a bad kid. So bad my parents did not want any more. So bad, they divorced. So bad that I was punished often because I was not living up to their standards.
My mother would do this thing whenever we saw my cousins. Any cousins from any side of the family. She would let me play with them. Let me get messy. Let me run around laughing and having a good time.
Then the whole car ride home, she would talk about how messy I was. How loud I was.
How I was not "as smart as", "as pretty as", "as obedient as".
I was a bad girl. A fresh girl who liked to talk back. A girl who ripped her tights and wrinkled her dress because she did not care to be polite or neat.
When my father took me from my mother to go to an event or play date, he actually brought me rugged Jean's + t shirts. I dressed down and took my hair loose. I went out in the yard. I got dirty.
Then I would get dropped off home and face the ridicule of a lifetime for looking and smelling the way I did.
They knew each other like warning labels --- there was no way it was accidental, this exchange of a pawn. A checkmate between dirt and clorox.
When I reflect now, I have a whirlwind of emotions.
At 29, I still ask myself sometimes if I "imagine to be worse than it was".
I also have to sit with the fact that not everyone in my family experienced the same behaviors or abuse from my parents.
That to some, it looked like I had a normal childhood.
My parents were both high functioning. And their Jekyl/Hyde personalities fooled a lot of people.
There were other abusers in my families. All 3 families, since my mother was remarried by the time I was 6.
I knew narcissists, emotionally and physically abusive members, other addicts, and even a pedophile.
I was sure of it.
In my silence, I also grew up hyper vigilant.
I carry guilt for not being able to expose those truths.
And pain for all the enablers or people who just kept a blind eye for convenience.
But something very important I discovered this year changed my life.
MY TRUTHS ARE THE TRUTH.
For me, the experiences were REAL.
They happened to me.
It was not an illusion.
And I AM SURE of what is healthy v.s. not.
So what helps me through these struggles?
The FACT that I KNOW RIGHT V.S. WRONG.
I know what abuse looks like, from education and awareness.
Even though I no longer live in those toxic situations, I still relive the memories.
But this time, I am able to process the guilt and pain.
To justify how I felt and what it all did to me.
And I can release the thoughts I have about anyone else I grew up around.
I can tell myself that everyone has their own experience.
I have to accept that some people loved the abusers in my families'.
That some people loved and love my parents.
I have to detach from the notion that my family has to validate the abuse in order to validate that I experienced it.
It is not true or necessary.
So I release it all.
Anyone else's feelings or examination of my truths.
I also stay introspective because that is healthy.
I had to make that boundary myself.
To ONLY THINK ABOUT MY OWN EMOTIONS and not try to process or control anyone else's.
It is true that some people do not have the same truths or realizations I do.
But just because someone else was not abused like I was, by the same person, does not mean that person was not abusive.
A narcissist is still a narcissist and an abuser is still an abuser.
IF SOMEONE DOES SOMETHING UNHEALTHY AND IMMORAL TO SOMEONE ELSE, EVEN JUST ONE VICTIM, IT ABSOLUTELY MAKES THEM WRONG.
Toxic is toxic.
And no one else can speak for me to say I was not abused.
No one else was there, but even if they had been ------> someone else having a lack of capacity or awareness of what is right and wrong should not affect in any way what I know to be right or wrong.
And even if no one else is able to have the same realizations I have, it is my job alone to create my own boundaries.
To keep myself safe.
I have had to keep my safety and distance ---> not just for myself but for my children.
I have had to break the cycle of abuse by deeming it not okay to be around addicts or abusive people EVER.
I have to be able to live with my own decisions.
And I can, every single day that I choose HEALTHY in order to break the cycle.
J.S. Jaded Savior
#selfproclamations #thirdeye #spirituality #mentalhealth #trauma #healing #poverty
Reflecting on my trauma has made me realize that I am the entire "package".
I'm a freaking gift set.
Better yet, I'm the gift that keeps on giving.
My DNA is unique in that I have not one but 2 bipolar parents with drug addictions and alcoholism. A mom with Wenicke-Korsakoff syndrome. A dad with Schizophrenia.
Both dropouts from high school [9th and 10th grade].
Both dropouts from rehab.
Both dropouts from parenthood.
I was an only child, who got pregnant at 16 and became a single mother before even graduating senior year. 2008, walking in my white robe and tassel, my baby being held by my Aunt in the sea of proud parents on the football field.
Most of the mental health issues my parents had came to existence in their teens. But other demons came out to play in their late twenties and thirties. Coinciding parenthood to me and their inevitable divorce.
I'm a gift that keeps on giving because I did not give my husband a mother or father in law.
No one to badger or judge or overbear him.
No need to split holidays or do visits.
We don't have to send our kids off on trips or weekends or spoiled afternoons with junk food and total annihilation of moms' and dads' rules.
I don't even cry about their absence. I don't want them to be around my children or in my life. Not when I never really had parents at all.
I have also disassociated with the awareness of these things.
Quite often I am steel faced and stone cold.
An appealing trait for the suffering and needy is silent resilience.
I'm a gift that keeps on giving when I am quiet about my problems.
Because who wants to read about problems on the internet?
Who wants to learn about rape or abuse?
I have always known the answer to that.
-----> Other survivors do.
Those who have also scored the perfect DNA recipe for disaster.
Those who were born into domestic violence, like me.
Those who were born into poverty, like me.
Those who were born into drug addiction and alcoholism, like me.
Those who were born into broken families, like me.
It does not feel like a gift to be different.
To only have known trauma growing up.
To have compared yourself to "normal people" and wished for a fighting chance to get out of the $hit you had come into this world with.
But it is a blessing to know your truths.
To intuitively know "right from wrong".
To sense and feel and have "knowing" prematurely.
To have hypervigilance or what I like to phrase as "seeing the needle in the haystack".
You can sense a prick, always.
It is a big gift to know how to survive.
But it does not mean much if we do not speak it.
If we do not take our knowing and strengths into the light to help others through their own struggles.
So if you are gift set of mental health issues + toxic relationships + saturated struggles, then use it to better the world.
When you talk about it from the point of view of knowing you are a warrior and not a victim, when you gain control of your situation and use your weaknesses as strengths ----> everything changes.
This year, turn your pain into power by knowing exactly how you were made for this world.
Know yourself entirely.
And then expand those gifts out into the world.
J.S. Jaded Savior
#christmas #boundaries #holidays #trauma
This holiday season, you might be thinking:
"God. This year I need to set boundaries" as you catch your breathe and grip for another panic attack.
Maybe you just got off the phone with a parent or someone in the family. You have confirmed plans that make you feel uneasy.
That punch the wind out of you.
Maybe you will have to see an Aunt or Uncle who growing up always made you feel pathetic or like a problem.
Maybe there will be too many people drinking and being unfiltered or just one drunk relative who pushes everyones buttons but especially pushes yours.
Maybe you feel unwelcome and like a stranger even though it's a place you have known most of your life.
Or maybe it will all just be hard.
-----> The holiday season.
It brings anxiety and depression in my stocking.
Worried I wont be able to play santa because I dont have enough to give.
Worried I will disappoint people or my own kids.
Worried when I leave the house because god so much can go wrong.
My anxiety goes through the roof when we get in the car and travel through icy roads. As I clutch the passenger seat and close my eyes, I feel sick from the motions and the noises.
I feel anxious about being in other peoples houses.
I have panicky thoughts like:
■ Did I dress ok?
■ Will my kids behave?
■ Will anyone get drunk?
■ Do I pass as happy?
■ Will anyone notice we couldn't bring much?
■ Will we be able to sneak out early?
Of course I hide during the holiday season. I want nothing more than to be in my little room back home.
Because so many things trigger me.
The loud screams and laughter.
Loud bangs or noises from the busy road outside.
People swinging their hands around and animated as they speak.
Sharp carving knives at the table for the big turkey or brisket.
The big, heavy tree filled with glass keepsakes that the kids keep running right up against.
The cat that bites and is not afraid to beat someone up on christmas ;)
Should I wear shoes or take them off?
Will my kids break anything or make too much noise?
Will the families clash?
Will anyone ask me what I do for a living?
Worse...will no one ask me a gosh darn thing?
So many things will inevitably trigger me and I will need to visit the bathroom at least 4 times to calm down.
FACT: I wear outfits that are super easy/practical to maneuver and I bring an extra outfit in my purse.
I'm too afraid il spill something or need to use the bathroom or have a kid RIP my stockings.
I'm too afraid the outfit on my body will let me down in some way.
Anxiety wraps my body round like a warm, itchy sweater.
And I keep saying to myself, "gosh darn, M F boundaries. Make em. Keep em."
But then I don't.
I let my imploding party of 1 hang tight in my head.
I make sure I don't inconvenience anyone else.
I make sure I barely eat or touch anything of someone else's.
And I've wondered where all of this has come from.
Why I'm so "crazy" during this season especially.
To be honest, it took until recently to "remember", even though as a woman with PTSD from abuse ---> I'm a walking shutterfly album of my worst times in history.
I realized that every year as a CHILD since I could remember, I was made to be seen and not heard.
I was made to feel grateful someone even wanted to be around me. Welcome me.
My mother made sure I never felt welcome, but instead a burden.
If I took a full plate, she would say that could have fed someone else.
If I dressed any way, she would tell me things like "you gained a little weight, I see" or "I wish I was as full as you and not so skinny." [I was less than 100 lbs until age 16].
My father did not have much money or anything to give. He made sure to give me experience gifts.
Like hanging out late nights at Starbucks or 711 with HIS friends. Til one or two am.
Like going to get toys at the hobby store. "You don't mind picking things out now right?" And then pushing me to pick out what he desired to play with or show people he got for me "on Christmas".
When I became emancipated from my parents and was staying with family, I felt so out of place and not because of anything ANYONE else did.
Everyone was loving and happy to have myself and my daughter around.
As a single mom of 17, I felt awkward wherever I went.
I didnt want anyone to ask me anything.
Not where the dad was....
Not what my plans were...
Not what I "do now"...
Not any small talk about the weather because they don't actually care what I am up to or how I am getting by.
And then there was the year that no one invited me anywhere. At last, I was just on my own. So I took my 6 year old to NYC on Christmas Day but train and we spent the entire day walking in matching red peacoats and fuzzy hats.
Being alone for Christmas was the most simple and beautiful experience I ever had.
Even though I was in a giant city, in the cold, with little money and no one familiar around me ----> I had zero anxiety that day.
I felt in charge and in control. I felt safe while abandoned.
All this time, through rediscovering my insecurities and pain points..
I thought I needed to just set boundaries.
The real conversation that had to be had was with myself and all about self worth.
I never felt worthy enough to make demands.
I HAVE ALWAYS VIEWED ME HAVING PREFERENCES AS ME BEING DEMANDING.
What a sad thing, to blow out your own desires because you think needing something sets fire to the lessons you learned as a child.
That quiet means humble.
That subtle means poised.
That starving means manners.
That uncomfortable means polite.
I've had to REPARENT myself as the solution.
Boundaries are now looking like LOVING MYSELF.
Finding out what makes me feel GOOD and what makes me feel BAD.
Then copy and paste.
Copy and paste.
Copy and paste.
This holiday season, we ironically are not going anywhere.
Due to unexpected events [and nothing bad happened] our usual annual plans are canceled.
So this time I am going to be sitting with myself, doing some intentional journaling and processing.
Im going to flip through my memories and rewrite them.
I'm going to redefine myself, honoring my needs.
But I'm also going to do the harder thing.
I'm going to take anxiety off.
And examine what needs to be done by me in order to not wear it so willingly.
I'm going to set boundaries with myself and also have open conversations with my partner.
For the first time ever actually.
Because anxiety is anything but silent.
And I've sat quiet for far too long. ♡
J.S. Jaded Savior